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Back To School Read Alouds – Book 1: The Circles All Around Us

Back To School Read Alouds: The Circles All Around Us
Make first week of school inviting with back to school read alouds. Learn how to use The Circles All Around Us to build your class community.

As the Back to School season approaches, we find ourselves at the threshold of a new beginning. A fresh start filled with the promise of growth, exploration, and connection!

As seasoned teachers, we know that the first week of school is much more than a series of introductions and icebreakers. It is our unique opportunity to set the tone, establish expectations, and cultivate the environment that will support our students throughout the entire school year.

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Because of that, why not kick off the Back To School season by fostering a sense of community and acceptance with “The Circles All Around Us” by Brad Montague? This is the perfect book to start out your school year. It’s the first day of class which is the first day your little community gets a chance to meet and learn about each other and widen their circles!

In this post, I will walk you through a detailed lesson plan that includes thoughtful questions for pre, during, and post-reading, as well as a free activity. 

Also, be sure to check out other blog posts in the series, for more Back To School read-alouds ideas. 

Table Of Contents:

The Circles All Around Us Overview

Back to School Read Alouds - The Circles All Around Us
Grab a copy of The Circles All Around Us Here

“The Circles All Around Us” is written by Brad Montague. Brad Montague, known for his heartwarming and thought-provoking work, infuses this narrative with his trademark style, combining delicate sentiment with profound wisdom. He presents the concept of ‘circles’ as an illustration of the relationships, communities, and environments that profoundly shape our lives.

The main character explores the ever-expanding circles, beginning from the most personal with his immediate family members and extending outward to friends, school, and eventually to the rest of the world.

This book is great to use when introducing class community because it invites the readers to consider their own place in these interconnected circles and the people around them.

Back To School Read Aloud Lesson Plan: Class Community

Objective: Students will reflect on their roles within various circles in their lives such as families, classrooms, and communities, and create a flipbook representing these connections.

Optional: Bring Friendship Donuts!


Start the discussion by showing students the cover of the book and discuss what they see.
Ask them what they think the book might be about based on the cover and the title.

Additional Questions:

  • What do you think the main character is doing on the cover?
  • How do circles appear in our daily lives?

For Upper Grades:

  • Prompt the students to think about what the word “Circle” means to them literally and metaphorically. 
  • How might circles be symbolic or meaningful in our lives?
  • How might circles symbolize connections in our lives?

During Reading

Back To School Read Alouds: The Circles All Around Us
Grab a copy of The Circles All Around Us here

Stop at the page when the author starts to talk about the circle getting “harder the more we share,” I called it the orange pages.

Ask the students to take a moment and think about how wide is their current circle.

Additional Questions:

  • What does the author mean by “it can get harder the more we share”?
  • How does drawing a bigger circle to welcome others inside make you feel?
  • Can you relate to the main character’s journey through different circles? How?
  • How do you think circles connect to our classroom community?

Post Reading

After reading, ask the students to think about how wide their circle is now. Is it still the same?

Additional Questions:

  • How wide is your circle now? Has it changed? Why or why not?
  • Why might the smallest circle, which only has you, be the most important?
  • How can we apply what we’ve learned from this book to our classroom community?

Activity: Flipbook Project

Free Back to School Activity - Flipbook Project
The Circles All Around Us Flipbook Project

The Montague Workshop has a free Flipbook Project along with other activities and discussion questions. You can grab it by visiting their website or clicking on this link. I am not affiliated with the Montague Workshop but just love their book and what they have to offer!

Materials Needed: 


  1. Introduce the project. Explain that students will create flipbooks to represent different circles in their lives.
  2. Guide students in drawing and labeling the circles:
    1. Circle 1: Themselves
    2. Circle 2: Immediate family
    3. Circle 3: Other loved ones
    4. Circle 4: Friends
    5. Circle 5: New classmates and teachers
  3. Assemble the flipbooks by helping the students cut, arrange, and staple their flipbooks together.
  4. Allow students to share their flipbooks. This can be done through classroom presentations or hosting a gallery walk. I love doing a gallery walk and allowing students to leave comments on each other’s work using sticky notes.
  5. Optional Friendship Donuts: Share donuts to symbolize the classroom circle.

Celebrate the ever-expanding circles that connect us all as you build a supportive and empathetic classroom community!

If you love Social Emotional Learning and want to implement it throughout the school year, grab a FREE 1 month of SEL Daily Morning Meeting here.

Check Out Rainbow Mindfulness Books and More!
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Rainbow Breathing Book For Kids

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Back To School Read Alouds: The Circles All Around Us
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Check Out More Back To School Read Alouds here:

The Circles All Around Us Read Aloud Lesson Plan:

Back To School Read Alouds: The Circles All Around Us Lesson Plan
The Circles All Around Us Lesson Plan

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Thank you for reading, and welcome back to school!

Bye for now,

Prima from LittleYellowStar

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